Bathwater

The Five Facts

Marching up and down a short space in the corridor outside of her next lesson, Hermione was a ball of fury to be reckoned with in that moment. If it was bad when Ginny Weasley was ranting about, it was even worse when the Brightest Witch of the Age was doing it. That was a common fact passed around Hogwarts, and it's why her fellow Gryffindors and friends said nothing as they just watched her stomp about; their sympathy with her in silence.

"I can't believe Kingsley would allow that bloody Sorting Hat to place me with Malfoy!" She stomped her foot in a very uncharacteristic manner. "He knows how much Malfoy hates me! Why would he allow it?!"

Ginny cleared her throat awkwardly, not knowing if her next move would be the right one. She hadn't known what to say during all of the brunette's ranting the past few minutes, and every time she would attempt to say something, Hermione would curse Merlin and stomp her foot again that everything was silenced immediately. "Well, Hermione, if you think about it, the Sorting Hat was created to put people where they belong. Perhaps, it thought you and—"

"NO!" Hermione bellowed, stopping her friend mid-sentence before she could get out that ridiculous idea. "It's Malfoy, Ginny. Malfoy! I would rather snog Cormac and have lots of McLaggen babies!" Though she said this, probably even hoped for it at the current moment, she knitted her eyebrows in disgust at the thought of having Cormac McLaggen's hands roam her body. (It was enough to make her pass out again.)

Pushing his back off the marble wall of the corridor, Ron made himself noticed amongst the throng of friends when he said bitterly, "would you quit your bitching?" He narrowed his blue eyes at her, not amused or sympathetic to her at all. "All you've been doing is complaining since you regained consciousness again. Get over it, why don't you. It won't be the bloody end of the world."

"Ron, don't—"

"I have Pansy Parkinson, and she's like a Malfoy female version, and I'm not causing such a commotion," the redhead went on, ignoring the halt Harry was about to give him. He proceeded to stare at his best friend with irate eyes, ignoring the scowl that his sister was giving him in warning of a line he was about to cross. "It might have escaped your notice, Hermione, but life isn't always fair. Deal with it."

Silence rung among the corridor as Hermione inhaled shakily. She looked at her friend with tears burning in her sockets, feeling small and like a fool.

She wasn't looking for attention, that much had always been obvious, but she didn't think she deserved the punishment of landing with Malfoy. Merlin, no one deserved that punishment. The fact that Seventh Year would be over quickly and she would never have to see his pale face, along with all the others that had caused her problems in her years in the castle, any longer was what got her up in the mornings. And now, by the command of some damn law and because of what a damn Sorting Hat said, she'll be sleeping with the Slytherin Prince?

Someone point her to the nearest loo so she can upchuck her breakfast.

"So," Seamus cleared his throat, looking between his house-mates uncomfortably, "Dean and I've got a bet going that Millicent Bullstrode will end up overpowering McMillan within a week. So be prepared, mates. If any of you see him limping by, or hear him screaming in the night, you can bet Millicent broke his wand." He snickered awkwardly, trying to ease the tension. "If you get what I mean."

Beside him, Lavender gave him a very disapproving stare. "That's terrible, Seamus," she scolded. "Millicent is probably a really lovely witch. We've just never given her the chance—"

"Oi, no." Seamus interrupted her, putting a hand up to silence her. "You know what's terrible? That bloody hat took my chance to get to know the witch of my dreams! She was going to be the mother of my children!"

Lavender glowered. "She wouldn't have given you the time of day anyway, Finnegan. You are too much of a bloody idiot for any Ravenclaw to find some interest in you." She took a dangerous step, eyes narrowing. "And bring her up one more time, you git, and I'll make sure you never have children."

As Seamus' eyes went agape, Dean took over to ease the new tensed situation that arose. He put an arm around Luna's shoulder casually, like he had all the right in the world to do so, like it belonged there, and smiled. All the while Luna looked at the ceiling, her eyes unfocused as she was possibly in her own little world. "Settle down now, you two. Despite this, you two have always been very good friends. Don't go ruining that friendship over something you can't change."

"If all of you are done with the chatter—" Professor McGonagall stepped out of the classroom, giving all of the students an impatient frown before Lavender or Seamus could make amends. "Your first Family Consumer lesson will begin shortly. Now, all of you get inside to your partners and sit in one of the single tables." And with those instructions, the new Headmistress stormed back inside into the classroom.

With his constant frown, Ron didn't spare anyone a look as he marched after his other friends.

"Don't mind him, Hermione." Ginny and Lavender both placed a clutch on either one of her slender arms. "He's going through a lot."

"I'll give him something more to go through," she hissed in a low, menacing voice as the girls led her into the classroom. She was done with Ronald. "And it'll hurt."

Coming from behind her, Harry wrapped one arm around her waist as he leaned towards her ear. "We'll take a table near you, Hermione. Just to be safe, okay?"

Walking hesitantly, frowning at how quickly she got there, the brunette arrived at a single table that had already been claimed by a pale, pointed face Slytherin with cool and blank silver eyes. Hermione sighed in defeat as she pulled out a chair for herself in front of the Slytherin Prince like they were about to have tea together and chat about good old times. "I can't believe this," she muttered to herself.

"You think you have it bad?" Malfoy scoffed in a low voice, glaring now as he caught the devastation and disgust in the Gryffindor's face.

Before Hermione could question his remark, Professor Flitwick levitated himself onto a stack of ancient books so he was perfectly visible to everyone. "Welcome to your first lesson!" He exclaimed excitedly, though his eyes looked concerned at all of the odd couples before him.

And there really were strange couples at that: Parvati Patil and Gregory Goyle, Ron Weasley and Pansy Parkinson, Theodore Nott and Romilda Vane, and, the scariest of them all, Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy.

"Now, today we will start with something fairly simple," the professor continued. "Since today is still a bit of a shock and most of you are being acquainted still, not to mention that the Ministry doesn't want to stress the lot of you until details of the law are fully developed, the lesson for today will only be a few minutes long. You're to find out five required facts about your partner." He smiled again, thinking to himself the disaster this would be. He only had hope for the future Potters, Thomas', and Longbottoms. The rest were a miracle in the making.

"It's advised that all of you actually try. Remember that you will be marrying this person, after all," the Headmistress added, motioning them to start.

Groaning internally, Hermione turned to face Malfoy. "…So, do you want to go first?"

Draco Malfoy peered up at her, his cold gray eyes glaring roughly. Almost as if he thought he could cause the Gryffindor Princess to explode with a blink of his eye if he wished. Too bad for him, however, that he was being watched and the Ministry was detecting every spell his wand spewed out, or else he would have cursed her teeth in. "Of course," he sneered as he sat taller in his chair. "One, I hate you. Two, I hate you. Three, this is completely mental. Four, you aggravate me. And fifth, I hate you."

Instant anger swelled up in Hermione's stomach.

"Nice try, Mister Malfoy." Professor Flitwick clucked his tongue at the Slytherin as he came from around their back, inspecting the situation. "Start all over. And be more respectful to your fiancée, if you please."

Draco rolled his eyes and Hermione clutched onto the edge of the table with all her strength. She already felt the pieces of wood dispatch from each other as she focused all her internal-anger there. "Well, don't I feel blessed," she spat sarcastically after the Charms teacher made his way to Ginny's table. "Merlin himself couldn't have done a better job and marrying me off with you. I feel like the luckiest witch of my generation."

"You're going to taint my good name, Granger." He intended to call her a Mudblood, but after the war no Pureblood ever seemed to dare to say it anymore. Not even him—though it would always attempt to slip out from time to time.

"Good?" She snorted mockingly. "You'll be lucky if I restore some decency into it. I doubt that the Wizardying World will ever see the Malfoy family with any respect again, and you know it. Your dear mother will be fortunate if she ends up being somewhat accepted in a moments time, Malfoy. We aren't the type to forget our manners and thank her for saving Harry's life."

Draco's nostrils flared up in anger and beneath the table he fisted his hands. He was not going to let the Gryffindor get the best of him, he was demanded to interact and be a part of the Wizardying World once more. It was up to him to repent his family's mistakes, and he wasn't going to let her ruin that.

"Let's get started, okay. I have to finish my Potions essay and I don't want to spend any more time with you than what's required." He leaned his back against the surface of his chair, trying not to frown at the female portion of the Golden Trio. "When I was five, my father bought me my first broom."

Hermione raised her brow at his sudden cooperation, a little disappointed if she might say. She wanted nothing more for Malfoy to give her an excuse to hex him, but she couldn't deny that they did need to complete this task. All she had to do was pretend it was an assignment, it was for her education. She would just have to block out the fact that she would be marrying him later, but that's when George Weasley would smuggle her in a bottle of Firewhiskey. (She was sure Ginny would inform the Weasleys that she was going to spend the rest of her eternity with Draco Malfoy that they'll comply to liquor her up.) "I'm the only child," she said forcefully.

He nodded. "I'm an only child as well, but of course you knew that."

"My favorite color is purple."

"I have seven house-elves." His eyes tinted darker and he gave her a smirk. Just because he was trying to finish the task didn't mean he couldn't have fun while doing it. It was always his personal challenge to make the insufferable bookworm aggravated and fuming throughout the day.

Hermione's hand slipped from the wood as her anger boiled again. Just when things were going somewhere he had to ruin it by being the same malicious boy from the past. "I enjoyed slapping you Third Year. It reminded me how much you exactly are full of shit."

He raised an eyebrow, slightly surprised by her language. "I prayed to Merlin that the basilisk would just skip the Petrifying part and just eat you. It would have done well for the world to get rid of another know-it-all."

Another fist was slammed on the surface of the table. "At night I like to wonder how glorious life would've been if Snape had never saved you from the Sectumsempra spell Harry accidentally sent your way."

"How I hoped Auntie Bella would have finished you off."

Hermione threw the chair back, making it slide on the floor as she stood. "I hate you!" She shouted, pulling out her wand and directing it to his face.

"The feeling is mutual, Granger!" Draco stood as well, his wand already pointing at the Gryffindor before anyone could react.

"Mister Malfoy! Miss Granger!" Professor McGonagall hissed as the classroom went deadly quiet, everyone turning to the fighting couple. "Lower your wands and sit back down! This is not the way to behave! You two are Seventh Years, for Merlin's sake, you aren't Third Years anymore!"

"Lower your wand, Granger," Malfoy spat threateningly, his hand tightly wrapped in his own wand.

"Hermione," Harry spoke from his place, glancing at his best friend with care, "just clam down, alright?"

"You marry Malfoy then!" Hermione yelled at him, not moving her wand an inch as she did. Her eyes focused on the Slytherin, debating the spell in which she could blow his blonde hair away from his thick head without drawing out too much blood.

"Oi, Granger, quit being a lunatic and drop the wand!" Pansy Parkinson spoke from across the table she was sharing with Ron.

"Shut it, Parkinson!" Ginny growled defensively.

"See what you've done?" Malfoy spoke to the brunette with a sarcastic, scolding tone. "Causing a battle between the Houses when the Headmistress specifically mentioned that it wouldn't be tolerated anymore. Do you feel better now, Granger?"

Hermione narrowed her eyes at him, not moved.

"Lower your wand, Miss Granger," McGonagall repeated.

"Come on, Hermione," Harry also pressed.

The brunette inhaled deeply, feeling all the pairs of eyes boring into her back as she felt something snap inside of her. "Fine!" She blurted, grabbing her schoolbag. "You want my magic? Take it! I'm a Muggle-Born! I know how to survive without it!" She tossed Professor Flitwick her wand.

"Miss Granger—"

"No!" She felt her cheeks burn with fury. "I rather be a lesbian and marry Lavender Brown than have to intertwine my life with the Bouncing Ferret!" She pushed her chair back in and stalked her way out of the classroom.

As Harry and Ginny called for the brunette, another one of their house-mates did so too as he stood from his chair. "Wait! Hermione!" Seamus held on to Lavender's arm. "You can have her! Take her!"

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